I just bought my neice a bicycle for her third birthday and I bought a bicycle for my nephew's second birthday (something he will use in the future). My neice already knows how to ride her bicycle (both bicycles do have training wheels on them).
One thing I am glad I did was buy them from a local bicycle shop instead of buying them from a box store (Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, est.). One thing they did was took the bicycle in the back and let the bike mechanics check the bicycle out to keep sure everything was fine with it.
In the future, I am going to buy all my bicycles from the local bicycle shops instead of the box stores. Is anybody else have great experiences buying from local bicycle shops instead of the box stores?
Just bought my first road bike from a local bike shop...
Best bike and shopping experience I ever had.
Sure beats hunting down an employee and asking them unlock bikes from the shelves so you can check them out while they give you dirty looks for making them work.
Bought my 2012 Specialized Roubaix from Goodales in Hooksett NH. I had three bike shops to pick from here in Manchester NH. One of them was a no go from the first visit. It came down to Specialized or Giant. I went
with Specialized. Blue Steel Cycles sold Giant. Goodales sold Specialized. All of the people that I met in both of these places treated me good. It just came down to choice and what bike felt better.
My son's first bike came from a shop. At first I was a bit aghast at myself for spending the money. But in the long haul I was glad that I did. The bike was reliable. Nothing broke or snapped off. It outlasted my son's riding, got donated to a church yard sale, and for all I know someone somewhere might still be riding the thing.
For children's bikes, we always sought out the best price, since quality is largely irrelevant. I think that we bought them from Toys'R'Us and maybe Target.
For older kids' first MTBs for light trail and street use, we bought them from Sports Authority at closeout prices.
My current MTB I bought from an on-line seller.
For anything adult for serious road riding, I'd use Craigslist without question.
I bought one bike from a chain bike store in 2009 - my experience was okay - particularly the time that they spent setting it up and watching me ride on the trainer until the adjustment/stem swaps were as close as we could get it.
Unlikely I'll ever buy a bike from a bike store again, though. Too expensive for what you get. Sometimes I'll buy tubes, rim strips, or tires through the bike chain store - but only on sale and during the Tuesday noon 10% off times. Otherwise, better deals can be found...the goal being to minimize costs of all consumable items. Stainless inner cables in bulk from Hong Kong, brake pads in bulk through eBay, lined housings by the foot for several projects at once.
I do all of our mechanical work, though, so don't need my LBS for repairs.